17 Best subject lines for your next survey email

Survey emails are a great way to engage with your subscribers and get to know them. 

Consumers want to know that their opinions matter to a brand. And initiating contact shows them that you care what they have to say. 

So how important are survey emails? Well, they have an average response rate of 33% – which means they’re important to craft carefully. Even more important to craft carefully: Your subject lines.

Are subject lines for survey emails all that different from your average email subject lines? Yes and no. We’ll talk about why in just a moment.

Subject lines play a big role in your campaign’s success

Email marketers already understand how vital the email subject line is. It’s the first impression your reader gets when they come across your message. What’s more, 47% of email recipients choose whether or not to open an email solely based on its subject line.

When it comes to your subject lines for survey emails, you want to entice, but you don’t want to come off as spammy. Nearly 70% of those who receive emails use the subject line to determine whether or not to mark a message as spam (and email surveys often make use of spam filter trigger words, which doesn’t make things any easier on your marketing team). 

Strategies for crafting subject lines for survey emails

You already understand that crafting a clickable subject line requires finesse. There are plenty of best practices out there to help guide you, but they don’t always apply to subject lines for survey emails. 

That’s why having a strategy lined up is absolutely essential to your creative process, and we’ve got a few to help get you started. 

Personalize your subject lines for survey emails

Your email marketing strategy wouldn’t be much without personalization. And when it comes to your subject line, personalization can significantly increase your open rates and engagement rates. For instance, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened, according to Campaign Monitor

Personalization in subject lines for survey emails traditionally includes the subscriber’s name. In some cases, it’s OK to use the word “you.”

The following example from Nokia is excellent because they’ve personalized the subject line with the subscriber’s name. This makes the reader feel singled out – in a good way. The brand made it clear they want this person’s opinion, so the chances of a response are much higher. 

Subject Line: Hi Smiles Davis, how are you liking Body+?

Nokia email surveySource: Really Good Emails 

Strike an emotional chord with your subject line

Emotions play a significant role in how someone reacts to your survey email subject line, so why not use it to your advantage? 

In this email, Netflix wants their subscribers to feel valued and important. To do that, they make sure to highlight how much they value their subscribers’ opinions in their subject line.

Subject Line: Netflix Values Your Opinion

Netflix subject line example

Source: Really Good Emails 

As a consumer, you want your voice to be heard and taken seriously. So, when a brand says they value your thoughts and opinions, you’re more inclined to give feedback. 

Another effective approach is well demonstrated by what Thumbtack did below. 

Subject Line: Tell us what you think of Thumbtack in 30 seconds

Thumbtack subject line example

Source: Really Good Emails

These days, people are busy. They often don’t have 20, or even 10, minutes to spare and give feedback. Thumbtack catered to their customers by offering a quick survey – which demonstrates that they care about them. For some people, this may bring up certain emotions, which could propel them to click and fill out the survey.

Pose a question to your email survey recipients

Another effective approach is to pose a question to your readers. This question can take on almost any form. 

The brand WYR did a fantastic job in their email below.

Subject Line: Duck feet? Righteous.

WYR subject line example

Source: Really Good Emails 

This email subject line stands out in a crowded inbox, and it doesn’t give off a spammy “take our survey” feel. Readers don’t even know they’re being asked for feedback until they’ve read the message. 

Incentivize your subscribers right in your subject line

Strong incentives go a long way in email marketing. They capture your reader’s attention and improve overall click-through rates. When it comes to customer feedback emails, those that include an incentive often see an increased response rate of 30%

The brand Frye incentivized their readers with a $50 gift.

Subject Line: $50 For Your Thoughts

Frye subject line example

Source: Really Good Emails

Avoid spam trigger words

Spam trigger words: One area that often trips up marketing teams while crafting subject lines for survey emails. It can be so tempting to include words like “survey” and “free.” But these often do more harm than good because they can easily trigger a spam filter. 

Some common spam trigger words that you’ll want to avoid in your subject lines for survey emails include:

  • Opportunity

  • Offer 

  • Cash

  • Credit

  • Earn

  • Discount

  • Money

  • Money back

  • No fees

  • Price

  • Save up to

  • Chance

  • Lose

  • Click below/here

  • Form

  • Member

  • Open

  • Sale

  • Deal

  • Gift certificate

  • Guarantee

  • No catch

  • No obligation

  • No strings

  • Win

  • You have been selected

  • You’re a winner

A/B test all subject lines to see what works best

If you really aren’t quite sure what route you want to take when crafting your subject lines for survey emails, then your best bet would be to test a few options out via A/B testing

A/B testing allows you to test different variations of an email’s subject line in small portions of your email list and see which performs better. 

Depending on the results you’re looking for, you can use various email benchmarks to determine what types of email subject lines your subscribers would most likely engage with and which ones they’d ignore. 

example of email subject line

Source: Emma

Test two different subject line variations with the same email body copy to be sure you’re getting results based solely on the subject lines, not on body copy. 

Once you’ve let your test run, you’ll be able to see which subject line performed better. 

17 Subject lines for survey emails to help inspire your next campaign

Sometimes the best way to fire up your creative process is to see samples from other writers. That’s why we spent time scouring the internet to come up with this list of survey email subject line formulas to help inspire your next campaign. 

  • Got a minute to spare?

  • Be honest – what did you think?

  • How was your recent experience with <brand>?

  • Cast your vote, and 50% off your next purchase is all yours!

  • <Name>, can we chat?

  • We need your input!

  • Well, look at you! How is your <product> working for you?

  • Your opinion matters to us

  • Your help is requested

  • Was <product> all you hoped for? Let us know!

  • How can we help you?

  • We can’t improve without your help

  • We value your insight

  • What did you think, <Name>?

  • Are you satisfied with <brand>? Let us know how we can improve

  • How do you like <product/brand>?

  • Help improve <brand> by taking this short survey


Wrap up

Crafting the perfect email subject line can be tricky – and when working with subject lines for survey emails, there’s a fine line between asking for input and coming off as spammy. 

Here’s some of the best advice we can give you:

  • Personalize your subject lines

  • Write to your subscriber’s emotional side

  • Ask your subscribers a question

  • Incentivize your subscribers

  • Avoid triggering the spam filter with spam words

  • A/B test several subject lines 


Have you noticed a decline in engagement? Make sure you’re avoiding these five common subject line mistakes that could be killing your open rates.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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